Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

tggtvavReview by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, LGBT

Synopsis: Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Review: As soon as I picked up this novel, I knew I was going to regret having put it off for so long. It was such a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I found upon completion that when it came right down to it, this book was just pure fun. I think there’s a lot of merit to works which don’t try to be much more than entertaining. And while this book broached some very serious topics, its lighthearted, humorous, and heartfelt narrative made for an engrossing and incredible story. I adored it.

Monty and Percy’s relationship was by far my favorite part. I’m a sucker for slowburn romance, and I was thrilled to see them acting on their affections so early into the story, because they were perfectly set up for all the tension to come. Monty, for all his selfishness, falls into a small category of my favorite male characters that I like to call “Privileged and Stupid, but Trying Their Best,” within which he stands with none other than Richard Campbell Gansey III. He was a wonderful narrator, and is really what made this book such a pleasure to read. I’m a big believer in the idea that characters do not have to be likeable to be interesting or effective, and Monty fits that bill perfectly. He was frustrating, yet simultaneously endearing, even at his absolute worst. This book shone its brightest during the more heartfelt and affectionate moments between the two men, and I had my breath taken away in a couple of spots by the dense and vivid imagery.

And despite all the fun I was having reading this, it tackled some serious issues – epilepsy, homophobia/biphobia, racism, abuse, female expectations, etc. Seriously, I could go on. And while some were more fleshed out than others, and I would have liked to see more development for all of them, I think they were important to bring up and landed as they were intended to. In this case, I think Lee tackled so many that had she focused on just a couple, they would have come off better. But the interconnection led to the need for shallow exploration of all, and honestly, I would prefer good representation that could be better than absolutely none at all. Seeing Monty unabashedly engage with both men and women was very important to me, and even though a lot of the negative consequences of that were hard to read at times, it was a good discomfort, a challenging one.

Overall, this was an incredible and refreshing take on a road trip story. I was genuinely surprised by the plot more times than not, and I was absolutely unable to put it down. If you have put this off for a while like I had, it’s time to solve that issue and pick it up. If nothing else, it is a good, simple, human story, and I’m so excited to see what more is to come for Felicity in the sequel.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Meant to Read in 2017

…But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish

33158561Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

I was so, so close to managing to squeeze this book into 2017 at the very end, but alas I didn’t get to it. However, the love for this novel is so deep, and from the 15 pages I did manage to read, I can see why. McLemore’s writing is so enchanting, her setting so engrossing and her characters enthralling. I can’t wait to unravel all this book has to offer, even if I am doing it a bit later than intended.

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas32320750

I’m a huge fan of thrillers, and this was on my radar for so long that I was actually recommending it to people before I had even read it myself. And the people who took my advice loved it so much that I knew I would have to get to it sooner rather than later. And with Thomas releasing one of my most anticipated stories this year, I’m eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on this.

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I’m always a fan of ensemble casts, and when you have to suss out a traitor among those characters, I’m all in. Though I don’t believe I truly favor any one sub-genre of YA, I’m definitely more partial to thrillers, so why I keep pushing this off is beyond me. This seems right up my alley, so I know that this year I’ll finally find the time to conquer it.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater30025336

I was a huge fan of The Raven Cycle for a lot of reasons, and I honestly think Maggie Stiefvater is one of the most incredible authors out there right now. She presents such compelling characters and plots, with just the right amount of humor and romance to offset the objectively dark storyline. Friends of mine have already read and adored this, and if it comes even close to reaching The Raven Cycle’s level of intense and enthralling prose, it will be a success.

32075671The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

It’s so disheartening that I never got around to this novel in 2017. It was one of the most highly praised (and well deserving, at that) titles, and marked a real change in how diverse stories are received by their audiences. Having not read it yet, I can’t even fathom how important and poignant it must be, as its impact is left entirely to experience. However, I know that once I get around to it, I’ll be just as moved as all the readers before me.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel30689335

Though the reviews for this book have been incredibly mixed, and justifiably so considering the subject matter and dark tone, it’s been on my list and in the back of my mind for some time. If anything, the mixed response has only made me want to read it more, so I can see for myself just what dark and twisted secrets are kept within this family. Meg was a huge fan of Engel’s previous work The Book of Ivy, but I’ve yet to read anything by her, and this seems like the perfect one for me to begin with.

33385229They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I’ve yet to read a Silvera novel, which seems insane at this point. His books are so adored, and I’m always looking for good LGBT+ novels, and I have a little too much of an affinity for tragedy and doomed romance, so I can’t believe I haven’t gotten to this yet. I’m so looking forward to it, and I hope it’s as spectacular as everyone else seems to believe.

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum33158541

I requested an ARC of this book a long time ago, but after being denied, I pushed it to the back of my mind and said I would save it for later. However, every time I see it pop up on my Goodreads shelves, all it takes it another peek at the summary to remind me how desperately I want to read this and how splendid it seems.

30249925This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

Some people hate strange books simply because they’re strange. I am not one of those people. If a book leaves me confused, questioning what I’ve read and experience, so much the better for it, because that means a story was compelling enough for it to linger in my mind for days after. Friends and fellow bloggers seem split on whether this was fantastic or terrible, and I can’t wait to make that judgment for myself this year.

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon31305526

I’ve heard incredible things about the captivating, gorgeous writing, incredible atmosphere, and well-rounded, slow-burn romance within this novel that I know I need to get to it sooner rather than later. Contemporary novels may not always be my first choice, but when they are as dense and glorious as this one is said to be, I’m utterly unable to put them down. I’m so looking forward to this that every time I read another review, it moves higher up my list.


What books did you all miss out on this year, and what are you looking forward to finally tackling in 2018? Let us know!

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1)

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Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

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Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

this is our storyReview by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (3.5)

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

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15 Most Anticipated 2018 Releases

As we prepare to head into the new year, there are so, so many books whose worlds, stories, and characters’ lives we’re looking forward to delving into headfirst. Though we know we can’t list every anticipated release, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen new titles (no sequels in sight!) plus some very honorable mentions to carry you into 2018. And may it be a good one for the book community!

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Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

far from the tree

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis: Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

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ARC Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #1) by Michelle Hodkin

becoming of noah shawI received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

Review by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Publication: November 7th, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Synopsis: In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

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Waiting on Wednesday #3: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that book bloggers are eagerly anticipating.


This week’s Waiting on Wednesday goes to a much-anticipated title, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton! I’m an enormous fan of the Tiny Pretty Things duology, and when I saw that Clayton was branching out into her own series, I was elated. Not only am I obsessed with debutantes, romanticized dark, dangerous cities, and superpowers, I’m also just a huge fan of Clayton. I know she’ll deliver a fantastic and complex novel that I can’t wait to get my hands on, but also a wonderfully diverse and necessary one too.


23197837Publication Date: February 20th, 2018

Synopsis: Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

Totally Should’ve Book Tag

We are back to Book Tag Sunday (at least for now!) I saw this tag from Kristin at Kristin Kraves Books, and loved all her choices so much I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring too! So without further ado:

1. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Sequel

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All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill! At one time, there was supposed to be a sequel which focused on the same events, but from Finn’s perspective. When I find out that was cancelled, I was absolutely heartbroken. All Our Yesterdays packs so much emotion and complexity not only into its plot, but in the unique way its characters are presented. To have seen that same treatment given to Finn would’ve been incredible, and it would’ve provided so much background for his character! He deserves to be fully fleshed out in another book, but that will only happen in my dreams.

2. Totally Should’ve Gotten A Spin-Off Series

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The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes! What this series really needs is a third book, but since that looks like it’ll never happen, I think a spin-off series focusing on Henry would be just as incredible. I don’t think his actions at the end of the second novel got the explanation they deserve, and I really want to see more of how he evolves! Also, I just simply adore these books and want way more of them in my life.

3. An Author Who Should Write More Books

April Genevieve Tucholke is, and always will be, my auto-buy author. Her books are so atmospheric, haunting, and complex, and I love seeing what convoluted plot she comes up with every time I pick up her novels. If she could release a book every single year, I would never, ever put them down.

4. A Character Who Totally Should’ve Ended Up With Someone Else

code name verity

Maddie from Code Name Verity/Rose Under Fire absolutely, 100% should’ve ended up with Julie during the first book. Though I haven’t read Rose Under Fire (and I never will), I found out that she ends up engaged to Julie’s brother. Not only does that not make sense, but it seems like a obvious attempt to try and distill the palpable romance and tension between Maddie and Julie and prove that they’re both straight, when everyone knows those two girls were in love. In my opinion, it’s just completely unfair.

5. Totally Should’ve Had A Movie Franchise

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Tiny Pretty Things! It would be so incredible to see all those cutthroat ballerinas sabotaging each other on the big screen, right? It was absolutely made for the movies, and it’s a shame that it isn’t one. And it’s so diverse, too! It would’ve been such incredible representation and a take on the corruption within the ballet industry. Dangerous ballerina movies play well at the box office, too, and I can already picture how well-made this movie could be.

6. Totally Should’ve Kept The Original Covers

The Gemma Doyle Trilogy had no reason to change their covers, but alas. The original covers were gorgeous and so crisp, and it seems like the new ones really sullied that beauty unnecessarily. Why, just why? There was no reason, at all, that these covers needed to change, but doesn’t that seem to be true of all Libba Bray novels?

7. Totally Should’ve Stopped At Book One

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This one seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Though I haven’t read the sequels, and I’m not sure I ever will, my highly reliable best friends have told me that the series goes downhill real quick. I thought the first book was good enough, but upon further reflection found that I actually didn’t like it as much as I originally thought. It left me with no real desire to continue the series, and I just don’t think it kept its momentum. Oops?


I’m not going to tag anyone this time around, but please feel free to take part in this if you see it from me and are interested! Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks? Let me know! Happy reading!